This last weekend we did one night away within a half hour from home on the south fork of the American River to fine tune for camping 2 nights away and 2+ hours away from home this upcoming weekend. As of right now we are tent campers and with a nearly 4 and nearly 2 year old we needed to really hone the sleeping arrangements.
First off we knew we would separate them having a parent sleep with each one. The 4 year old we guessed was pretty good to go after sleeping in her own sleeping bag last season. But the nearly 2 year old was in a pack-n-play last season...and he, as mentioned before, being off the charts in length no longer fits. So our first option was to put him on his sister's Ready Bed. Which btw these are awesome for trips away from home or children visitors from out of town. But we learned quite quickly he is still too much of an active mover at night and kept falling off and getting wedged between his and my bed. So in the end the best situation seemed to be letting him with a couple of blankets for padding sleep directly on the tent floor. So the plan for the upcoming weekend is to take a Thermarest and let him again sleep nearly directly on the floor with a small cushion of air between him and it.
Another key learning involved dirt. And we know there is always plenty of it when camping with kids. Last year I was very jealous of some friends who have a pop-up tent trailer and this great plastic like 4footx8foot rug that laid out in front of their door. Shoes were dropped there before their kids entered the tent. Dirty clothes as well were strewn along it. Well, I quickly brainstormed a fast and cheap option for us. Home Depot and other like stores tend to sell the faux grass rugs on huge rollers where you get a employee to cut you off your desired measurements. It worked great! It was super affordable and my only little tweak before the upcoming weekend will be to put duck or carpet tape around all the edges to prevent unraveling and throw in a little hand-broom to remove large debris.
My third key learning from our trial trip revolved around nap times. My son was having nothing to do with the warm tent when it came to nap time. Finally when we were about ready to throw in the towel and pack it up for home I put him in his car seat and turned on the air conditioner in our SUV. He was asleep in less than 5minutes. Then I proceeded to open all the windows for the cross breeze and he continued to snooze away. I hated at $4 a gallon doing that, but at less than 5 minutes in park it was totally worth it.
And finally last weekend's destination and our upcoming one have bodies of water, therefore swimsuits and towels were necessary. However, turn a 4yr old loose on a river each for an entire day and you can pretty much plan to trash that suit. She wore it so thin on the rear playing on the rough sand it fell apart in the wash. So if you don't have a near garbage-time suit ti take a long...now is a good time to hit the clearance rack at your local Target, etc and pick up a suit for $4 like I did this week for this coming weekend's trip. And towels...bring dark colors and preferably not your best beach towels.
So I think we are ready for another set of nights under the stars this coming weekend....
On another note...for those who read my Frontier saga of lost luggage and canceled flights back in June. It took a little longer than their quoted 3-4weeks, but we received our check which reimbursed us for necessities for 3+ days and clothes to attend a wedding. Unfortunately our iPod Nano still has not made it's way back to us.